Set in Afghanistan circa 2001, director Nora Twomey’s adaptation of Deborah Ellis’ best-selling novel is a somber, violence-wracked saga of discrimination and hardship, one that’s rooted in—and refuses to shy away from—Islamic misogyny. Far from light and frivolous, it’s a lament for the continuing persecution of women in a land beset by endless conflict, as well as a tribute to those valiant females, young and old alike, who refuse to reside quietly in the shadows. It’s also the best animated film of the year.